Step Into my Day

September 12th, 2012


Some weeks ago, Monsieur and I ventured to famed restaurant Europea’s little sister: Andiamo. While we went for supper, the grand service, contemporary décor and management of Montreal’s most famous of this Beaver Hall location caters to business lunches. In fact, the all-you-can-eat fish bar (we came for) is offered for dinner and lunch.

As we were seated, a plethora of waiters summoned at our table got me intimidated on the spot. (Having reviewed restaurants for two years now, you would think I have my critic persona down to a science. Truth is, I get shy the minute I take out my massive Nikon out of the bag. It takes a lot of vino convincing from Monsieur for me to kill my timidness and start shooting in a place like Andiamo).

A tataki and lobster paté were brought as bouchés, crusty cheesy baguette lay on the table with little pots of salted almonds, quality olive oil, sea salt… The Mediterranean theme was present in the food and the décor: white and blue reigned as dominant colours.

We ordered white (by the glass – Monsieur had to stop by the office post-supper) (and on a side note, we didn’t feel pressured to go for the bottle, which was nice) and made up our minds on the entrées. My cold tomato gaspacho was fresh, served with a long crisp topped with olive tapenade. I found it watery and added swirls of olive oil. Monsieur opted for fried calamari with came breaded with parmesan, poppy seeds and lime and a cute pot of tartar sauce.

Then we were escorted to the back where some ten varieties of fish lay on ice. Clams, mussels, shrimp and octopus sat in bowls and our lovely waiter (who was un-intimidating at this point ) presented us the varieties. I remember dorada, red snapper, chilean bass, Atlantic salmon, sardines amongst other kinds that slipped my memory. The choice is yours (it’s all you can eat, remember) and the ways of preparation are à la plancha or on the grill. We did what the majority does and let the chef sample our selection (had I been with my parents – fish obsedeurs, it would have been a different story.)

Moments later, a bowl of mussels/clams in a white wine sauce was brought along with sides of risotto and ratatouille, two sauces (one yellowish and garlic-flavoured, one white and creamy) and the fish. On a rectangular, transparent plate lay octopus, calamari, shrimp, and five slices of fish. I must add that the fish selection was on the interesting side, common salmon for example wasn’t in the mix. Once drizzled with fresh lemon juice, the fish tasted just right. Great even. I can’t say the same for the sides – while the ratatouille was sweet and OK, the risotto was a miss – too creamy, too cheesy, one bite was enough for me. The accompanied sauces were interesting, they complemented the mussels/clams and fish well.

Despite considering the portion medium at first, I barely finished my plate. With no room for dessert, Monsieur and I left satisfied by our Mediterranean adventure. My only quest is now to convince my parents to lend the place a visit – on their wedding anniversary perhaps?

Andiamo on Urbanspoon

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